Disused railway bridge to be demolished to make way for housing development

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Residents are divided over the future of a disused railway bridge that is set for demolition in Blurton, Stoke-on-Trent.

The City Council have granted plans to flatten the bridge on Church Road, Blurton, making way for six new houses.

Some people living close to the structure believe that the rail-tracks are a hotspot for antisocial behaviour.

Other locals consider the bridge a ‘landmark of industrial heritage’, and believe that it should have some sort of legislative protection.

John Flanagan, who has lived next to the bridge for more than 50 years, said: “I am glad that the bridge is coming down, it has not been used for decades and it would be nice to have some new homes in the area.

“We used to have lots of youths standing on it distracting motorists as they came past which nobody seems to think about.

“Its caused lots of trouble for me, I even had stones thrown at my house from people on the bridge.”

Barry Phillips, of Ashcombe Green, said: “I would leave the land as it currently stands, I do not want a house built two feet away from my fence.

“It looks like it is going to happen no matter what we say though, as people have brought the land and had the plans accepted.

“Ideally I would have a solicitor to fight for our corner, but they are thousands of pounds.”

Derick Howell, also of Ashcome Green, said: “The bridge is seen as a point of industrial heritage having transported coal by rail to pits at Florence and Hem Heath.

“The railway using the bridge used to come from Hem Heath all the way down to Florence which had delivered coal to the pits, which is a massively important bit of history in the area.

“Once it is demolished, we will have big lorries and congestion through which will be a real pain for the Blurton area.”

Proposals for the new houses on Church Road, Blurton, were approved by Stoke on Trent City Council’s planning department, which includes removing the bridge to improve access to the building plots.

Construction work on the site adjacent to the bridge.

Councillor for Blurton East, Joan Bell, believes that it could be a ‘matter of weeks’ before the bridge is demolished.

Cllr Bell said: “The bridge is going to be safely demolished over the course of a weekend, and they are looking at doing it when Stoke are playing away from home to ease congestion in the area.

“We stopped the developers demolishing the bridge previously so that we could agree on a plan, and having had a meeting with planning officers, we are now satisfied with the proposals.

“This could now be as early as next weekend when Stoke travel to Manchester City.”

Access for pedestrians and emigrant vehicles will not be available when the bridge is being demolished.

 

 

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